LOGANSPORT – It stands to reason. Remember the state that held out against a money mountain in a state lottery, and it didn’t get approved until 1988 when voters demanded it and kicked out a House speaker from Muncie?

It stands to reason. Remember a “religious freedom act” former Gov. Mike Pence signed that soon became an expensive, apologetic campaign to defend the honor of the state’s citizens who were compromised by political grandstanding that fuels the fires of the Ron DeSantises of 2022?

It stands to reason. A state that has one of the lowest college attainment rates in the country plays politics with the forgiveness of student loans by taxing the forgiven amount as income. The single parent, the working family, the people who aspired to be the first in their family to earn a college degree – let their good deeds not go unpunished. Let’s punish them again by getting Indiana’s hands in their billfolds and purses. 

Yes, Indiana, the state with a declining number of men in four-year colleges, the state that ranks 40th in education ahead of only the Deep South states, the state where personal incomes lag behind the nation along with population growth because so many of its “jobs” it is gaining don’t require college degrees, says once again, “We don’t care about college attainment.”

This despite a Lilly Endowment that has, for more than 20 years, provided full four-year scholarships through community foundations in all 92 counties. This despite the wonderful work of the Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis and Eli Lilly saying it will focus more recruitment in other states for its high-paying openings.

But will the legislature punish Mitch Daniels for taking campaign contributions from a felon like Tim Durham? Probably not. Instead, Mitch, who is under scrutiny for his delayed financing plan for college as illegal, says student loans shouldn’t be forgiven. He should be the first person to forgive state taxes on student loan forgiveness. Mitch is in the business of college attainment and promoted it through the establishment of Purdue Global. Mitch is in the business of holding the line on the cost of college education by freezing tuition for years.

And yet as Mitch is in the business of profiting from a state university to the tune of more than a million dollars in the past decade – thanks to trustees he appointed – he will walk away from Purdue with its gold, though tarnished by the black of political spoils.

The Indiana Department of Revenue’s taxation on student loan forgiveness is a horribly flawed concept. Thousands of Hoosiers who won’t get a dime of that money in their checking account will be handed a bill for thousands of dollars, payable to the state of Indiana. 

Ironically, public officials such as Daniels have lobbied for universal tax abatement for economic development projects, but not for the money lost to cities, counties and schools to ever be paid back. Call it corporate welfare if you will, but it’s a tax break that will never be paid back.

Robbing the Peters of taxpayers to pay the Pauls of state government? Can anyone spell hypocrisy?

And while we’re on the subject, property taxpayers are granted relief thanks to tax caps known as “the circuit-breaker,” but they’re never going to be required to pay back that money, particularly on what the most luxurious mansions are actually worth.

This from a state that couldn’t even waive its state gas tax when prices skyrocketed over $4 a gallon. It could have been done in a special session called this summer, but lawmakers were more concerned with a narrow limit on the number of abortions than benefiting the good people of the state of Indiana.

To paraphrase an old Hoosierism, the rich are getting the gold mine. The rest of us are getting the shaft. 

Kitchell is the former Democratic mayor of Logansport.